Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

E P I S T L E IV.

"T:

is strange, the Miser Mould hisCares employ

To gain those riches he can ne'er enjoy: Is it less strange, the Prodigal should waste Ilis wealth, to purchase what he ne'er çan taste?

COMMENTARY EP:STLE IV.] The extremes of Avarice and Profusion being treated in the foregoing Epiltle; this takes up one particuJar branch of the latter, the Vanity of Expence in people of wealth and quality; and is therefore a corollary to the preceding, just as the deputie on the Characters of liomin is to that of the knalets and Characters of Men. It is equally remarkable for exactre!, of method with ihe rest. But the nature of the subjers, which is lets pacfephical, makes it capable of being analysed in a much narrower compaís.

VER. I. "215 1:07:5?, Esc.] The poet's introduction (from * Ito 9] conduits of a very curious remark, arising from his intimate know!cige of nature; together with an illustration of that remurk, taken from his observations on life. It is this, That the Prurligal no more enjoys his Profufion, than the Miser, his Rapacity. It was generally thought that Avarice only kept without enjoyment; but the poçt here firft acquaints us with a circumstance in human life much more to be lamented, viz. that Profufion too can communicate without it; whereas Enjoyment was thought to be as peculiarly the reward of the beneficent par. fions (of which this has the appearance) as want of enjoyment was the punishment of the fiifill. The phænomenon observed is odd enough. But if we look more narrowly into this matter, we fhall find, that Prodigality, when in pursuit of Taste, is only a Mode of l'anity, and consequently as selfith a pailion as even avarice itfc!; and it is of the ordonance and constitution

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

N. Blakey inv.et del.

Ravenet Sculp.

What droughtS."Visłos ill got Wealth to waste? Some Gemon whisperdšísto! have a Taste).

Of: on Taste.

[ocr errors]

Not for himself he sees, or hears, or eats; 5
Artists must chuse his Pictures, Music, Meats :
He buys for Topham, Drawings and Designs,
For Pembroke Statues, dirty Gods, and Coins ;
Rare monkish Manuscripts for Hearne alone,
And Books for Mead, and Butterflies for Sloane. 10

COMMENTARY.

of all selfish passions, when growing to excess, to defeat their own end, which is Self-enjoyment. But besides the accurate philosophy of this observation, there is a fine Morality contained in it; namely, that ill-got Wealth is not only as unreafonably, but as uncomfortably squandered as it was raked together; which the poet himself further insinuates in x 15.

What brought Sir Visto’s ill-got wealth to waste? He then illustrates the above observation by divers examples in every branch of wrong Tafte; and to set their absurdities in the strongest light, he, in conclusion, contrasts them with several instances of the true, in the Nobleman to whom the Epistle is addressed. This disposition is productive of various beauties; for, by this means, the Introduction becomes an epitome of the body of the Epistle; which, as we shall fee, consists of general reflections on Taste, and particular examples of bad and good. And his friend's Example concluding the Introduction, leads the poet gracefully into the subject itself; for the Lord, here celebrated for his good Taste, was now at hand to deliver the first and fundamental precept of it himself, which gives authority and dignity to all that follow.

NOTES.

Ver. 7.- Topham).A

Gentleman famous for a judicious collection of Drawings. P.

VER. 8. For Pembroke Statues, dirty Gods, and Coins.] The author speaks here not as a Philofopher or Divine, but as a Con

Think we all these are for himself? no more
Than his fine Wife, alas! or finer Whore.

For what has Virro painted, built, and planted? Only to Thew, how many Taftes he wanted. 14 What brought Sir Visto's ill got wealth to waste? Some Dæmon whisper’d,

“ Visto ! have a Taste." Heav'n visits with a Taste the wealthy fool, And needs no Rod but Ripley with a Rule.

NOTES noisseur and Antiquary; consequently the dirty attribute here affigned these Gods of old renown, is not in disparagement of their worth, but in high commendation of their genuine pretenfions. SCRIBL.

VER. 10. And Books for Mead, and Butterflies for Sloane.] Two eminent Physicians; the one had an excellent Library, the other the finest collection in Europe of natural curiosities; both men of great learning and humanity. -P.

Ver. 12. Than his fine Wife, alas! or finer Whore.] By the Author's manner of putting together these two different Utenfils of false Magnificence, it appears, that, properly speaking, neither the Wife nor the Whore is the real object of modern taste, but the Finery only: And whoever wears it, whether the Wife or the Whore, it matters not; any further than that the latter is thought to deserve it best, as appears from her having most of it; and so indeed becomes, by accident, the more fashionable Thing of the two. SCRIBL.

VER. 17. Heav'n visits with a Taste the wealthy fool,] The present rage of Taste, in this overflow of general Luxury, may be very properly represented by a desolating pestilence, alluded to in the word visit.

VER. 18. Řipley] This man was a carpenter, employed by a first Minister, who raised him to an Architect, without any genius in the art; and after some wretched proofs of his infufficiency in public Buildings, made him Comptroller of the Board of works. P.

« ZurückWeiter »